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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y015398/1
Title: National facility for ultra-high field (11.7T) human MRI scanning
Principal Investigator: Bowtell, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Gunamony, Dr S Kopanoglu, Dr E Ipek, Dr O
Berrington, Dr A Shmueli, Dr K Sourbron, Professor S
Armitage, Dr P Malik, Dr SJ Rowe, Professor JB
Goense, Dr J Parkes, Professor LM Auer, Professor DP
Peters, Dr AM Clare, Dr S Williams, Professor SCR
Alexander, Professor D Wild, Professor J Jones, Professor DK
Blamire, Professor AM Weil, Dr RS Thelwall, Professor PE
Bangerter, Dr N K Rodgers, Professor CT Cercignani, Professor M
Poptani, Professor H Ronen, Dr I Mullinger, Dr KJ
Wheeler-Kingshott, Professor CAM Tyler, Professor DJ Bagshaw, Professor AP
Kourtzi, Professor Z Schneider, Professor JE Francis, Professor S
Hall, Professor I Gowland, Professor PA Glover, Dr PM
Jezzard, Professor P Parker, Professor GJM Peet, Professor AC
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Physics & Astronomy
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 April 2023 Ends: 30 September 2028 Value (£): 29,410,359
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Jan 3000 Large Research Infrastructure Outline Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The need for increased sensitivity and contrast drives the development of magnetic resonance imaging towards increasing magnetic field strength, with the most recent step being from 3 to 7T (T=tesla). The UK7T Network has provided the UK's 7T sites with valuable experience of successful collaboration on high-field-MRI and UK researchers have played a key role in establishing the maximal attainable performance of 7T systems. Recent technological advances have led to considerable excitement about the potential of UHF (>7T) for human MRI. The gains offered by UHF are prodigious, but considerable technical advances are required to deliver them. A small number of 9.4T scanners are already producing impressive results, 10.5T and 11.7T scanners are poised to deliver and 14T scanners are being considered in Europe and China. For UHF to have maximum impact, a concentrated national-level effort is now needed. We believe that a step change in performance can be rapidly realised at 11.7T, enabling swift advances in applied biomedical imaging. The UK's world-leading, closely-knit MRI and clinical research communities are uniquely equipped to undertake the coherent work-programme required to develop and exploit 11.7T.



Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) provide powerful insights into the structure and function of the human body, enabling the study of anatomy, physiology and metabolism in health and disease. MRI and MRS underpin biomedical research programmes ranging from fundamental human biology and neuroscience to the experimental medicine studies and clinical trials which lead to improved patient outcomes. Increased signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) at 11.7T will translate into much richer information content in structural and functional imaging in the brain and body, producing a step change in the range of research questions that can be addressed with MRI. The SNR of brain images will more than double from 7T levels, and sensitivity to key MRI markers of tissue properties will greatly increase. This is particularly the case for myelin and iron - important markers of neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. The expected, more-than-tripling of blood-oxygenation-level-dependent sensitivity at 11.7T (relative to 7T) will allow brain activity to be probed in unprecedented detail, enabling reliable assessment of brain function at a mesoscopic level, bridging the gap between standard neuroimaging and invasive electrophysiology/microscopy techniques. UHF-MRS also offers great benefits for studies of metabolism in health and disease. Gains in SNR for MR studies involving X-nuclei (including 2H, 7Li, 13C, 17O, 23Na, 31P and 129Xe) are even greater than for 1H. This will produce a huge enhancement in metabolic mapping capability, accelerating data acquisition by up to 6x, so facilitating patient studies in cancer and a wide range of other important diseases.

This bid was developed with input from >90 researchers from 20 different organisations whose expertise spans multiple disciplines, who will develop and use the new facility. The new insights into brain structure and function provided by the facility will be of immediate benefit to researchers in basic and clinical neuroscience. Previously inaccessible measures of metabolism and organ function in health and disease will be of value across the biomedical community, including the life science and healthcare industries and the NHS. Engineers, physicists and computer scientists will be engaged in the development of new UHF technology.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk